Infection Prevention 101
Infections are a part of life, and happen to everyone at one point or another. There are many common types of infections, from eye infections and urinary tract infections, to infected wounds and internal viral and bacterial infections that can make us sick. Luckily, most common infections share some signs and symptoms, so you can easily learn what to be on the lookout for. Preventing infections is also top of mind for us at Swift, and a few simple techniques can help you keep most infections at bay.
Here are some tips on how to identify, prevent, and take care of common infections, as well as some guidance on when it’s time to seek further medical attention.
How to: Identifying Infections
First things first, let’s talk about identifying infections. It’s essential to know when something isn’t quite right with your body. Here are some common signs:
1. Fever: Most people’s body temperature hovers somewhere between 97 and 99 degrees Fahrenheit. If you feel feverish and are running a temperature of 100 or higher, it could be a sign of infection.
2. Coughing and Sneezing: These are often symptoms of respiratory infections like the common cold or flu.
3. Pain and Swelling: Infections can lead to pain and swelling in various parts of the body. Pay attention to things like sore throats, swollen lymph nodes and glands, and/or pain and swelling around an injury. These are all signs that it could be an infection.
4. Redness and Heat: Skin infections may cause redness, heat, and tenderness in the affected area. You may also see a faint halo of white around an infected lesion or injury.
5. Fatigue: Feeling unusually tired could be your body’s way of telling you something’s wrong. This is especially common among older people, who might not display other common signs of infection, particularly for a systemic infection like a urinary tract infection.
How to: Preventing Infections
Now that you know how to spot infections, let’s talk about prevention. After all, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Here are some tips to help keep those pesky germs at bay:
1. Hand Hygiene: Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. It’s one of the most effective ways to prevent infections. Pay special attention to under fingernails, palms of hands, and the spaces in between fingers.
2. Vaccinations: Make sure you and your family stay up to date with vaccinations. They can protect you from various infections like flu, COVID-19, and RSV.
3. Proper Nutrition: A healthy diet helps boost your immune system. Fill your diet with antioxidant and Vitamin C-rich foods like leafy greens and berries. Eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
4. Stay Active: Regular exercise keeps your body strong and better able to fight off infections. Exercise boosts your immune system, helps improve lung capacity, and helps you sleep better at night. All these things boost your body’s infection-fighting abilities!
5. Get Enough Sleep: A good night’s sleep is crucial for your body to recover and stay healthy. Aim for 7-9 hours per night to sufficiently recharge.
Treating Infections at Home
So, what if you do find yourself feeling under the weather or suspect that you or someone you care for has an infection of some kind? Here are some tips for treating common infections at home:
1. Rest: Give your body the rest it needs. Take it easy, and don’t overexert yourself.
2. Hydrate: Drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated. It can help your body fight off infections.
3. Over-the-Counter Medications: For some infections, over-the-counter medications can provide relief. Always follow the dosing instructions. NSAID painkillers like ibuprofen can be great for helping reduce pain and inflammation, but they do have some side effects to be aware of. Always speak with your healthcare team before taking a new over-the-counter medication to make sure it won’t interact poorly with your other meds or health conditions.
4. Warm Compress: Applying a wet, warm washcloth or hand towel to the affected area can help ease pain and reduce swelling in skin, eye, or ear infections.
5. Follow Your Doctor’s Advice: If you’ve seen a healthcare provider and they’ve prescribed medication such as antibiotics, make sure to take it as directed. Finish the entire prescription even if you start to feel better before it runs out.
When to Seek Medical Attention
Sometimes, infections can be serious, and it’s important to know when to seek medical attention. If you experience any of the following, it’s time to call your healthcare provider or visit Swift Urgent Care:
1. High Fever: A persistent high fever of 103 degrees Fahrenheit or higher in an adult could be a sign of a severe infection that requires medical intervention. What is considered a high fever in children varies depending on their age, so if you take your child’s temperature and it’s high, it’s probably a good idea to call their pediatrician.
2. Difficulty Breathing: If you have trouble breathing or observe someone in respiratory distress, seek medical help immediately.
3. Severe Pain: Intense or worsening pain is a red flag that should not be ignored.
4. Rapid Heartbeat: A fast or irregular heartbeat should signal that it’s time to get medical attention.
5. Symptoms Lasting More Than a Week: If your symptoms don’t improve or get worse after a week, it’s time to see a healthcare professional.
Summing it up:
Infections are a part of life, but with the right knowledge and some simple precautions, you can reduce your risk and know when to seek help. Remember to practice good hand hygiene, maintain a healthy lifestyle, and seek medical attention if needed. Your health is something to be cherished, so let’s keep those infections at bay and enjoy life to the fullest!
If you suspect an infection, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at Swift Urgent Care. Our friendly providers are ready to help you get back to feeling your best. Your health is our priority, and we’re just a phone call away.
Stay well, stay safe, and if you need us, we’re here for you at Swift Urgent Care. Walk in anytime or book your visit beforehand, whichever you prefer. We offer low wait times to ensure that you’re seen promptly. Be sure to take care of yourselves and your loved ones.